It snowed heavily in the mountains on Thursday night. According to the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, there was more than 65 centimeters of fresh snow in the north-eastern Graubünden Alps. In the meantime, the snow line has fallen and it snows in parts of Switzerland down to the deepest elevations. Meteorologist Daniela Schmuki reveals where over half a meter of fresh snow could fall in the next few hours.
Daniela Schmuki is an ETH environmental scientist specializing in atmosphere and physics. After an internship at Meteo Schweiz and Meteotest, she has been working as a meteorologist at SRF Meteo since summer 2007. She is also an instructor for aviation weather at Lufthansa Aviation Training.
SRF News: Will we soon be able to ski in the center of Zurich, as is the case in Madrid?
Daniela Schmuki: In the city of Zurich there are already a few centimeters of snow on the streets and in many places it will continue to snow practically continuously until Friday noon. Like in the Spanish capital, which is experiencing the worst winter chaos in around 50 years, it will probably not look like in the Central Plateau. If you want to see masses of snow, I recommend going into the mountains.
Where has there been how much snow so far?
The latest measurements are from this Thursday morning. The total snow depth in St. Gallen was 18 centimeters, in Einsiedeln 22 centimeters and in Chur 40 centimeters. In Arosa there is already 1.35 meters of snow. The Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology announced that in the past 40 years there was only three times more fresh snow in Arosa within 24 hours. And there will be a lot more in the next few days.
Where do you expect the greatest amount of fresh snow?
On the northern slopes of the Alps – until Friday afternoon, 50 to 100 centimeters can still be widespread Fresh snow fall. In the central and eastern plateau, 15 to 30 centimeters can be expected in many places. In the central and eastern Swiss Plateau and in the Basel region, 10 to 30 centimeters will come together in many places.
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The Safiental / GR sinks in the snow. With the «winter service», classic car snow blowers from Rolba are also used.
SRF eyewitness / Christa Buchli
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In this winter weather, here in Arosa / GR, refreshment for the feathered friends is the best.
SRF eyewitness / Hanni Roffler-Rathgeb
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Zurich was not spared from the snow masses either.
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No, these are not modern or poorly modeled snowmen. In Brigels / GR, finding your own car becomes a game of vabanque.
SRF eyewitness / Peter Bumbacher
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Even in Wigoltingen in Thurgau, 10cm of fresh snow had fallen by the morning.
SRF eyewitness / Ivo Sonderegger
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With such a view, the home office in Würenlos / AG is also fun.
SRF eyewitness / Claudia Hürlimann
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At the Lorze in Baar / ZG there is almost a thaw. The snow is already melting again. Will something be added or has it already been?
SRF eyewitness / Ernst Rohrer
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In the Prättigau, here in Küblis / GR, the snow extends to the mezzanine floor.
SRF eyewitness / Barbara Züst
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In the Valais cross-country paradise of Goms, a good blanket of snow is created for the popular winter sport.
SRF eyewitness / Raphael Imsand
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Despite the snowstorm, the Matterhorn-Gotthard-Bahn travels undeterred through the white winter landscape.
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In St. Gallen Neudorf, the snow cover is also quite thick.
SRF eyewitness / Silvia Erb
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In Malans / GR there is currently nothing to sit outside.
SRF / Silvio Liechti
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Icy temperatures in Kehrsatz / BE create such «ice bridges».
SRF eyewitness / Margrit Keller
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In Goms / VS, car shoveling is probably the order of the day.
SRF eyewitness / Raphael Imsand
However, this also increases the risk of avalanches …
Exactly, the avalanche danger has been increased to the second highest level over a large area in the Alpine region. This danger level affects the northern slope of the Alps without the foothills of the Alps, the Valais, the northernmost valley of Ticino and northern and central Grisons. In the rest of the Swiss Alps and in the Jura there is a considerable risk – this corresponds to level 3 of 5.
The situation is tense because it will continue to snow and a stormy northwest wind is blowing in the mountains. It’s a dangerous combination. The Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research is expecting many spontaneous avalanches in the next few days.
Will the snow stay there for the next few days?
We assume so. Wherever it snows, temperatures are close to freezing. An icy day follows, especially on Saturday, when the sun sometimes comes out. It will snow again in many places on Sunday.
But it must be emphasized that flakes are not yet falling everywhere. If you look out the window into the rain, you are probably in the western central plateau. There the snow line is between 400 and 700 meters, the thermometer shows between 2 and 5 degrees. The temperature differences between west and east are currently very large.
How do these differences come about?
The cool air that snow brings slowly moves from the northeast to the west. While there is a slight breeze in the east with cold air, a brisk but mild southwest wind blows in the west. This is called a convergence that increases snowfall. The cold will only gradually spread across Switzerland. In Geneva, for example, it is 6 degrees and there is no sign of snow. But that can change on Friday.
The interview was conducted by Laura Sibold.